Quantum-gravity-slingshot: orbital precession due to the modified uncertainty principle, from analogs to tests of Planckian physics with quantum fluids

Modified uncertainty principle and non-commutative variables may phenomenologically account for quantum gravity effects, independently of the considered theory of quantum gravity. We show that quantum fluids enable experimental analogs and direct tests of the modified uncertainty principle expected to be valid at the Planck scale. We consider a quantum clock realized by a long-lasting quantum fluid wave-packet orbiting in a trapping potential. We investigate the hydrodynamics of the Schr\”odinger equation encompassing kinetic terms due to Planck-scale effects. We study the resulting generalized mechanics and validate the predictions by quantum simulations. Wave-packet orbiting generates a continuous amplification of the quantum gravity effects. The non-commutative variables in the phase-space produce a precession and an acceleration of the orbital motion. The precession of the orbit is strongly resembling the famous orbital precession of the perihelion of Mercury used by Einstein to validate the corrections of general relativity to Newton’s theory. In our case, the corrections are due to the modified uncertainty principle. The results can be employed to emulate quantum gravity in the laboratory, or to realize human-scale experiments to determine bounds for the most studied quantum-gravity models and probe Planckian physics.

Giulia Marcucci and Claudio Conti, arXiv:1805.03600

Plasmon-enhanced spin-orbit interaction of light in graphene

We develop a novel theoretical framework describing polariton-enhanced spin-orbit interaction of light on the surface of two-dimensional media. Starting from the integral formulation of electromagnetic scattering, we exploit the reduced dimensionality of the system to introduce a quantum-like formalism particularly suitable to fully take advantage of rotational invariance. Our description is closely related to that of a fictitious spin one quantum particle living in the atomically thin medium, whose orbital, spin and total angular momenta play a key role in the scattering process. Conservation of total angular momentum upon scattering enables to physically unveil the interaction between radiation and the two-dimensional material along with the detailed exchange processes among orbital and spin components. In addition, we specialize our model to doped extended graphene, finding such spin-orbit interaction to be dramatically enhanced by the excitation of surface plasmon polaritons propagating radially along the graphene sheet. We provide several examples of the enormous possibilities offered by plasmon-enhanced spin-orbit interaction of light including vortex generation, mixing, and engineering of tunable deep subwavelength arrays of optical traps in the near field. Our results hold great potential for the development of nano-scaled quantum active elements and logic gates for the manipulation of hyper-entangled photon states as well as for the design of artificial media imprinted by engineered photonic lattices tweezing cold atoms into the desired patterns.

A. Ciattoni, C. Rizza, H. W. H. Lee, C. Conti, A. Marini in ArXiv:1804.10533